VFW Sept. 2012 - Goldie London, Hive Mind, Aptform and PINGHE

Runway photos courtesy of Peter Jensen.

Again, this was a full day of shows at Vancouver Fashion Week with many amazing designers.  This is just an overview of a few that personally caught my eye.

Goldie London & Hive Mind Millinery

Hive Mind Millinery
Britsh born, Vancouver based hat designer Dominique Hanke is one of the newer forces on the local millinery scene - combining traditional hat-making techniques with unique, contemporary finishes to create wearable art. Her initial offerings were more traditional felt hats as well as an interesting selection of unusual fascinators. With a truly unique personal style - who could miss her British Flag tights and pale blue hair this week - one would expect only over-the-top styles. This certainly was seen in the skull adorned number on the bottom right and in a paint splattered flat disk version, but overall her collection showcased a talent for subtlety in design and accent that will place them well in the market. It was exciting to see her expansion into new directionis.  I loved the addition of very feminine and light woven straw styles, especially the smaller versions with accents.  The grey design in the bottom strip, 2nd from left, is one of my personal favourites.  I think the 2 best pairings between Goldie London and Hive Millinery are the top strip far right - the pale shirt sporting a jeweled collar with the lavender hat topped by a pink bow - and the bottom right bronze sequined dress with the skull hat. Special kudos to the model in that last photo for posing the hat so well at the end of the runway

Goldie London 

Goldie London made its first foray into the fashion world at London's Portobello and Spitalfields markets. Their description of "wearable with a cool girl aesthetic" is a good fit with what was showcased at VFW.  Obviously aimed at a younger market, we saw a selection of garments that combined femininity and fun with a touch of rock-n-roll.  The palette touched on the softer side with white, pink, aqua, 2 muted prints and fluid fabrics.  Then came the studs on a white jacket, a vibrant water colour print skirt, a red lace bra style top, sparkly black separates, a bronze sequins dress and 2 sequins skirts.  Although diverse in styles, most of the garments are designed for a day or evening out. I love surprises on the runway and Goldie London offered me a great one.  The white blouse with silver skirt in the bottom strip had a surprise open back with a y-shaped strip of 1 inch wide beading down the centre.  A great dramatic moment. As mentioned above, the collaboration with Hive Mind really worked well in my mind and elevated the work of both designers.

Aptform by Michael Gkinis

I don't know where to even begin with this designer, but I'll start by defining him instead as an artist.  I was so struck with his work I arranged to interview him at the airport as he left. but in that brief hour only managed to touch the surface. Yasuhiro Tomita (the talented designer of the RUKUS label) was fortunately sitting next to me during this show and tried to help me understand the complexity behind what appeared simple.  Gkinis was born in Greece  and trained in London, but an internship with Issey Miyake in Tokyo changed his direction.  Living in Japan since 2006, each garment is constructed like a piece of art.The more you delve into it, the more complex it becomes.  This excerpt in the designer's own words speaks volumes, "...contemporary clothing that is meaningful in terms of construction and sensitive in their cut and texture.
Gkinis finds inspiration all around him - from the texture and colour of 1000 year old walls to rain falling in Tokyo.  He is drawn in particular to subtle Japanese craftsmanship, unique textiles and dyes and is always exploring and updating traditional techniques.  I cannot begin to describe what I saw on the runway, so will let the photos speak for themselves. 


PINGHE (designer Ping He) closed the evening with a line of ready-to-wear that was sleek and beautifully constructed.  This internationally recognized, award winning designer has worked with the best - including Alexander McQueen - and has fans such as Madonna and Uma Thurman. The wonderful collection of garments she showcased here was designed with today's modern woman in mind - a touch of sophistication, a touch of edge and in the designer's own words, "...infused with elements inspired by both East and West"  Clean, structured silhouettes were contrasted with softly draped sheers.  The palette included off-white, light and dark grey, red and black providing the foundation. 2 prints were offered - the red-toned one above right and a black/white Op Art geometric that I especially loved.  Adding depth were also an interesting textured shiny bronze fabric and leather in both red and black.  My favourite leather piece was a jacket that had eyelets and lacings straight up the back of the sleeve from the wrist to top.  Kudos to this designer for making us all sit up in our seats and take notice after a long day of shows.